Federal Judge Rules Minority Business Agency Must Serve White People as Well

The Minority Business Development Agency, a Commerce Department agency created during the Nixon administration to help minority-owned businesses, discriminated against white people and must offer its services to people of all races and ethnic groups, a federal judge in Texas ruled on Wednesday.

Judge Mark T. Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas sided with two of the three white business owners who sued the agency after being told its assistance was limited to members of “disadvantaged” minority groups. The third was found to not have standing.

That presumption violated the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law, wrote Judge Pittman, who was named to the federal bench by President Donald J. Trump. Judge Pittman permanently barred the agency from serving only members of minority groups.

“If courts mean what they say when they ascribe supreme importance to constitutional rights, the federal government may not violate such rights with impunity,” he wrote. “Time’s up.”

The ruling was the latest in a string of court decisions that have eroded or struck down federal affirmative-action mandates in a variety of arenas, led by a Supreme Court ruling last June that upended race-conscious college admissions programs at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

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